Being the evil capitalist that I am, I wanted to give my perspective on this raging wildfire going on over Facebook and Adblockers. This fight has been building for a long, long time. It is a battle over the very core of an internet revenue model based on advertising, as a principle source of publisher income.
I come to this argument with experience being on both sides in the business.
My Thoughts as a Consumer and a Publisher
Most people don’t like advertising because it is annoying, it is in your face, it is eye catching, etc. Which is precisely what it is designed to do. Until the advent of the internet, advertising was a strictly passive endeavor. When you read a magazine, you have ads on pages selling you a product. The difference with internet advertising, is that when you are reading online “magazines,” the ads can also be reading you.
This is an irritant to privacy advocates. My problem is that on the internet, your privacy is an illusion. Your IP address alone can reveal a ton of information on you, and with most users, that is not obfuscated at all (with a proxy IP address and the like).
I also find it especially ironic and even a bit funny when people complain about their privacy being invaded with advertising and have Google, Facebook, Hotmail, Yahoo, and yes… even Disqus accounts. What do you think these companies do with these free accounts?
YOU are the product.
For many years, I have refused to use adblockers out of principle except on a few sites that have crashed my browser repeatedly (Breitbart and Hotair) and only then did I selectively remove the worst offenders (popups, autoplay videos in the center of the screen).
I do not believe that I am entitled to view their work for free.
Yes, for a while now Allahpundit’s “work” was typing just enough to hit his word quota from Salem, but out of principle he should be compensated for it if you are viewing his pieces.
This is like someone going to a store and reading all the magazines and newspapers cover to cover without buying any of them. It is sometimes allowed depending on the store, but most people would consider it rude and some, like those at Facebook, consider it stealing.
When someone blocks ads because of their pervasiveness on Facebook or whatever site they frequent, they may also end up blocking smaller publishers who depend on that income to keep their doors open. I sincerely doubt the average adblocker user is going to manually whitelist every site they visit, or even know how to use the adblocker they installed or had installed for them.
It is disheartening, because it will lead to more consolidation on the internet to just a few publishers backed by those with income sources apart from their end product on the internet. It is not ALWAYS a bad thing if that happens, there just doesn’t seem to be many conservative sites that stays conservative after they are sold.
Advertising Allows for Independence
Think Breitbart and Robert Mercer. Did anyone see the thumb on the scales when Cruz Vs. Trump was all the rage, with their benefactor practically funding the Cruz campaign? Does everyone remember how much Hotair changed after it was bought out by the liberals at Salem?
Unfortunately, with a large minority of internet users using ad blockers, you now have sites like the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times trying to transition to a subscription model.
Does anyone want to see this type of model becoming commonplace in an open internet? Every site being a walled garden?
So I fully support what Facebook is doing with this.
Being an evil capitalist, I believe they deserve to get paid for providing their service. They are psychotic censorious liberals, but they have the best service out there. However, just like I believe Facebook is right to fight for their just compensation, I believe their users have every right to leave.
As a private company, Facebook can do what it wants within the boundaries of the law.
But I don’t believe for a second that by forcing your customers to view advertising that downloads malware to their PC’s and phones is a good, or even smart, idea. Constantine XI said it best, this is going to open Facebook to a class action suit. Because if you are forced to view their advertising, then they must be responsible for the results.
So when we implemented advertising at this site, we decided that we would not try to replicate these other sites that have ads over 50% of the page. We all view the site adblocker free, we see the same thing you do. I have satellite internet that reduces me to a data cap every month. We have dialup users who are able to use this site. Therefore, we have streamlined the site to run quickly, use less data, and reduce the amount of connections that people have to make in their browsers to use this site.
So as a favor, please whitelist this site so we can continue bringing you the news every day! 🙂